#2196 Reply

Jim Soltis

Hi, I’m Jim Soltis and I’ve been Michael’s student for a little over 2 years. I’m 65 years old. I’ve been playing for maybe five years but I didn’t really start making any progress until I started with Michael. After about a year I wanted to learn vibrato because I felt like I would never be able to get the best sound out of my playing until I did. So, Michael and I began working on it. April, you ask if it is difficult. I gotta admit that there were a couple of times when I had serious doubts, but I was determined to learn it. So, I persevered and now I’ve got a pretty good wrist vibrato. I found that my early frustration went away when I understood that I would have to learn it insteps, in increments. Crawl first, then walk. For a week or two or three, I just worked on getting the right movement of my arm. For me, the easiest place to do a vibrato is playing a D note on the A string. So that’s the only place I played for several weeks. I would just move my arm back and forth in the correct manner very slowly trying to remember to keep tension out of my left hand and also my bow hand. Michael can tell you better than I can what the right steps are. It took me about 4 or 5 months before I felt like I could legitimately say I can do a vibrato and maybe twice that long before I could comfortably incorporate it into many of the songs I play. It’s amazing how much better songs like Amazing Grace, Danny Boy, Ashokan Farewell and others sound now that I can do them with vibrato. There is certainly some effort, but it’s like a lot of things, once you put out the effort to learn them you look back and say, “Geez, why did I think I couldn’t do that?”